Mrs. Sandamini Perera shared her thoughts on "How female leadership is most rewarding & most challenging".

Q. How is Sri Lanka faring in terms of women’s representation in business?


A. Senior lady Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Policy makers, Women in Corporate Board Rooms, Representation of Women at high level positions etc. shows how Sri Lanka is faring at present in a male dominant culture over the years. Moreover, another feather in the cap for us is The 1st Woman Prime Minister in the World being a Sri Lankan.

Many women at present are more career minded and out of the usual frame of being bound to being at home attending to the chores of the family but it’s not the same anymore. With this breakthrough, there has been more women into the corporate and business world who pursue their higher education and are qualified holding top executive and Managerial positions, in the business circles as well as corporate at present.

Moreover, in Sri Lanka, being a parent, getting married and having kids and peak of one’s career most often rotates round the same time period which is challenging but over the years the culture has been changing and more females are very capable of juggling household chores and family simultaneously.


Personal Questions


Q. What aspects of being a female leader are the most rewarding, and what are the most challenging?


A. The rewarding aspects of being a female leader is that by being a female you are respected and allowed to be heard in any forum. Further, a female leader on most occasions are provided the 1st opportunity being a lady to make comments and remarks  since Sri Lanka is still a more male dominated and you may find yourself as the only female participant at certain forums.

Women make great leaders because they have an innate ability to dream big, challenging assumptions and inspire team – and they know how to translate big ideas into concrete action and results.

Women have natural leadership skills that they use to get things done. They are not afraid to show their emotions and are excellent at building relationships with their people. They can connect emotionally, which is why they are often great leaders.

The most challenging issues faced by women leaders are due to old stereotypes. Because men have been leaders for so long, the traits association with leadership are often thought of as masculine

Being a female leader, I most often support and guidance is given to mothers who are completing maternity and encouragement in all aspects are provided to same to pursue their careers in way of providing flexi hours etc. So much talent, experience knowledge is wasted once the a full stop is at the end of the career after parenthood and thus my main aim has been to reach out to many in such instances bringing them out in these difficult times with the present economic situations where savings may not be much possible but results could be savored in the future.


Q. How would you define your leadership style? And how does being a woman influence it ?


A. The leadership style that I practice could be defined as a leader who tries hard to obtain participative contributions which provides a very conducive working atmosphere. Most often Female leaders are multi-tasking, who have their own methods and skills of performing, have immense patience and very good listening skills.

Women leaders are more transformational than men leaders. They function as a role model for their subordinates. They inspire their team and spend a lot of time coaching their team. They care a lot about their personal development. Women leaders emphasize teamwork and authentic communication as a key to success.

Women also tend to have more highly developed interpersonal skills. They focus on developing and maintaining strong work relations with both the junior and senior employees to streamline the operation.

Women’s influence on leadership styles are that they are resilient, have humility, take risks, act as mentors and be of service to others.


Q. Is the gender gap closing in Sri Lanka, in your assessment?


A. The answer is very much “Yes” as many male dominated professions are today being shared by women. A good example is the Armed services and the Police in Sri Lanka which were totally male dominated but large number of carders are represented by females as at present. Also the aero nautical field where there are lady pilots, and many more new avenues where female presence is seen such as Real Estate, Engineering, construction fields etc.. The present generation and their outlook to life is helping to close the gender gap in Sri Lanka.

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